How I Financially Sustain My Vagabonding Life

In November of 2012, I left my job as the manager of a yoga & holistic health center in Rhode Island and set out with my backpack to begin a full-time vagabonding life on the road.

My travels have since included both short and long term destinations in North and Central America, with California, Costa Rica and Texas being where I have spent most of my time.

Since it has now been a year since I set out, it makes for a nice time to reflect upon the past 12 months and share some of the details about the logistics of how I have financially made this vagabonding life possible for me.

How I Earn an Income

When I left Rhode Island, I continued to work for the yoga & holistic health center I once managed, taking on the project of building their new website. I am not a website designer or a programmer by any means, but after years working with the in-house software we used, it was easy to learn the partner program that was necessary to create the ideal site for the company.

I initially worked around 20 hours per week (for a couple months) until I had the site up and running. Then my hours dwindled down to around 10 per week and finally, closer 5 to do some light maintenance work and other small side projects.

Around February of 2013 I started thinking I would like to branch out and do the same work for other yoga studios that used these two popular softwares, so I began asking around and with some simple networking I got my name out and took on a few more clients. My work load varies based on how much I feel like doing. Some weeks I will only do a couple of hours and others I get excited by a new project and work closer to 20, however my 40+ hour work weeks are long gone.

This is just one way to earn money remotely. In the past I have also done online voice recordings for an English-Spanish language application, taught English as a Second Language, cared for children, animals and houses, and helped people organize their homes. There are all kinds of unconventional ways to earn an income doing the activities that you enjoy.

What I Spend it on

One thing that people seem to be surprised about is how much it costs me to live on the road. It is common for people to associate the freedom of being a world traveler with endless financial abundance, however I have found from my own experience and from other fellow vagabonders on my travels that what it costs them to live their ideal life on the road is much less than what it costs to live a standard American life.

The last time I had a year-long lease, sharing all the general life expenses with my partner and roommate, we racked up an average monthly bill of around $3,000 per month. However, when the two of us traveled in Central America and California for 3 months, together we spent a monthly average of just $1,000.

Why such a huge difference? Well, because it costs to live the American dream, even if you are living pretty minimally. Between rent, electric, internet, car insurance, motorcycle insurance, automobile maintenance, gas, food, airline tickets, and the list goes on, expenses can really add up.

Overall, traveling on my own in a number of different locations and scenarios I have found that I spend an average of about $1,000 per month (just for me), which includes all my expenses (travel, accommodations, food, and so on).